The pandemic is causing the cruise industry to accelerate the retirement of many older ships. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, which operates in the British market, confirmed that is has sold its two 1970s vintage cruise ships adding to the list of older ships that are unlikely to survive the extended pause in cruise operations.
Typically, a ship’s economic life is considered to be 20 to 25 years. In the cruise industry, however, which was undergoing rapid expansion over the past decade, it was common to find older ships continuing to be a vital part of the industry. While adding newer ships that attract higher fares, many of the larger cruise lines use their older ships to expand into smaller markets and regional ports or they sell those ships to smaller companies that typically are not building new ships.
The older ships are smaller in size and lack many of the headline getting amenities. However, those ships have been able to find niche markets and develop a loyal following from travelers who either enjoy the more classical designs or smaller size of the older ships.
Fred. Olsen had previously announced that it was acquiring two ships from Holland America Line that would be used to replace the older, smaller ships in its fleet. “Following the recent announcement that Black Watch and Boudicca are retired from our fleet, we can announce that both ships have now been sold and will begin a new life as accommodation vessels for a company in Turkey,” said the statement they issued today. “We expect that the ships will set sail soon, with Boudicca due to leave Rosyth for the final time as early as next week, and Black Watch to follow. The crew are hard at work preparing them for their journeys and ensuring that that they are ready for their new home.”
Built in the early 1970s, Boudicca was retired due to the pandemic – courtesy Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
The announcement that the two ships that had both been built in the early 1970s had been sold for use as accommodation ships came as a surprise to many observers who speculated that they would be sold for scrap. Some industry insiders are still questioning if this might be an interim step for the ships before being scrapped.
The Black Watch and Boudicca had been among the first purpose-built modern cruise ships and pioneers in the modern luxury cruise market when they were introduced for Royal Viking Line in the 1970s. They operate long cruises, including around the world voyages, later being sold and operated by a series of cruise lines before being acquired by Fred. Olsen, which used them to begin its expansion in the cruise industry. Olsen invested in overhauls, including new motors, for both ships that helped to extend their careers.
Both of the 28,000 gross ton cruise ships have been laid up in Scotland during the pandemic. After the retirement announcement, reports began to surface that they were being stripped of fittings to be used on the two newly acquired ship. This week, they began to remove all of the Fred. Olsen branding on the ships, including starting to repaint their funnels in black.
While among the oldest operating cruise ships, the Black Watch and Boudicca are not the only cruise ships of this vintage not to survive the suspension in cruising. In the spring, another cruise line focused on the British market, Marella Cruises owned by Germany’s TUI Group, announced that it had accelerated the retirement of its 1984-built ship the Marella Celebration. The 33,000 gross ton cruise ship was recently renamed and is laid up in Greece reportedly bound for the scrapyards in Turkey. Sitting next to her is the last of the Spanish cruise line Pullmantur’s ships the Horizon which was built in 1988 and reportedly was also sold for scrap after Pullmantur filed for insolvency in Spain.
Marella Celebration in the foreground was retired this summer – courtesy Marella Cruises
The accelerated retirement of older cruise ships was also the theme of Carnival Corporation’s ship disposal program. While, so far, most of Carnival’s sales have been sold to smaller cruise lines, three of Carnival Cruise Line’s 70,000 gross ton ships built in the early 1990s were sold to the scrapyards in Turkey where Carnival Corporation says they are being “recycled.” Beached at the same scrapyard are the 73,000 gross ton Sovereign and Monarch built in the late 1980s and early 1990s that had been operating for Pullmantur.
In early October the fate of the former cruise ships marketed by Cruise and Maritime Voyages will also be determined. Ranging in ages from being built in the 1960s to the early 1990s, those ships are being auctioned in the UK for debts after CMV went into receivership during the summer.
Most of the other major cruise lines have so far said they do not anticipate retiring any of their cruise ships. Most of their fleets, however, are younger having been updated as new ships were built in recent years.
A massive fire broke out at the Port of Beirut on Thursday, incinerating a warehouse full of tires and oil within the port’s free zone. The same area was heavily damaged in the ammonium nitrate explosion that leveled the central port area and the adjacent waterfront on August 4. According to Lebanon’s civil defense agency, […]
Over the course of the past five days, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority arranged a medical intervention for an injured aboard a freighter in the Indian Ocean. On Saturday evening, the Spliethoff tweendecker Dolfijngracht called for assistance while under way about 1,000 nauical miles off the coast of Western Australia. A crewmember had sustained serious […]
The UK government’s new post-Brexit tariff regime will result in both winners and losers. The new regime is set to replace the European Union’s Common External Tariff from the end of the Brexit Transition Period on December 31, 2020. The UK’s commitment to the ongoing Brexit process and ending the UK’s transition from EU membership […]
The U-Freight Group (UFL), with its considerable involvement in eCommerce logistics, says that the latest statistics showing that global e-commerce sales hit $25.6 trillion in 2018 are a further vindication of its decision to enter this sector of the international freight market several years ago. The latest available estimates, up 8% from 2017, were recently […]
The First DP2, Twin-Hulled SOV in the World, NB72 Groene Wind met the Sea on September 29. 2020 in Yalova, Turkey. The Groene Wind will be directly chartered to Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy for the maintenance of the Rentel and Mermaid & Seastar (known as SeaMade) offshore wind farms in Belgium. This is the first DP2, […]
DSV Belgium has solid experience in the transport of pharmaceutical products for different customers. With a pharma hub based at Brussels Airport a lot of experience and know-how has been built up over the years. Last weekend, the forwarder handled one hundred million mouth masks, an important milestone for its Belgian organisation that has put […]
Astral Aviation has increased its intra-African network with cargo freighters during the pandemic. While there has been a reduction in capacity to, from, and within Africa, which has been caused by a stoppage of passenger flights and limited frequencies on freighter aircraft, Astral Aviation continues to operate cargo freighters from its Nairobi hub to 13 destinations […]
The naval forces of the US and Bahrain recently staged a joint force training exercise which showcased the interoperability between coalition warships operating I the Arabian Gulf. Coalition Task Force Sentinel executed combined exercise Sentinel Shield supporting Sentry and Sentinel patrols in the coalition’s area of operations. The guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones and […]
Emirates SkyCargo has expanded its weekly scheduled cargo flight operations to cover 75 destinations across six continents. Through its wider reach, Emirates SkyCargo is able to transport essential commodities and other urgently needed cargo more rapidly across the world, allowing exporters and importers across markets to benefit from direct access to widebody cargo capacity. Some […]
With close to 100 daily cargo flights operated to a destination network spanning more than 65 cities across six continents, Emirates SkyCargo is delivering essential supplies and commodities to people around the world. The air cargo carrier is currently operating 11 Boeing 777 freighter aircraft, each with a capacity to transport about 100 tonnes of […]
Best known as a leading passenger airport serving Germany’s most populated federal state North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf has become transformed into a vital distribution point, during the COVID 19 pandemic, for medical equipment and other life-saving goods, mostly from China. Gerton Hulsman, managing director of cargo operations, reports that the handling teams are working hard to […]
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a Marine Accident Brief about an accident that occurred on April 15, 2019, involving the towing vessel DeJeanne Maria which struck the end of a submerged dredge pipeline while pushing two spud barges to the Gulf of Mexico. The incident occurred on the Mississippi River in Pass […]
Operators can continue to use pilots and other crew members who have unable to comply with certain training, recent experience, testing, and checking requirements due to the COVID-19 outbreak in support of essential operations. Additionally, this Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) provides regulatory relief to certain persons and pilot schools unable to meet duration and […]
Global commercial aviation charter company Albion Aviation Group is reporting that it is seeing a considerable uptake in its professional cargo broker training courses from the current global pandemic crisis and surge in charter demand. “We have completed a number webinar courses for a whole of host of companies, looking to manage their own cargo […]
Callan Marine is serving as the prime contractor to the Texas Department of Transportation for a maintenance dredging project located at the Bolivar Ferry Terminal, in Galveston, Texas. Work began in May and is estimated to be complete in late July 2020. The project consists of the removal of 600,000 cubic yards of material and […]
Network Airline Management and TAAG Angola Airlines are pleased to announce the renewal of their long-term freighter aircraft contract by an additional 12 months, sealing an ongoing partnership for the foreseeable future. Operating a regular weekly scheduled service from Liege, Belgium, to the capital of Angola, Luanda, Network Airline Management provides a Boeing 747-400F aircraft […]